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Posts from — April 2015

Zestful – Go For It With Zeal

Today’s the last day of the AtoZ Challenge. Come Monday I’ll be back to regular posting on the blog. The challenge has been fun but I’m looking forward to getting back to regular mundane blogging again. 😀

Trying to choose my word with Z, I though ‘zestful’ would be apt to close with. The dictionary defines Zestful as full of energy and enthusiasm. This is how I’d want my blogging to be, I want to blog with zeal.

Zestful is a word I’d use for my first and my youngest dogs. It applies to the others too but with them it’s only in certain areas. With Cuckoo and Elu it applies in every thing.

There is nothing I can think of that Elu and Cuckoo do without their whole heart. They put their everything into everything they do. Where they find the energy for it all is a great mystery to me but they find the energy for everything.

I’ve even tried taking them for long walks that leave them tired with their tongue-lolling out but give them a sip of water and say shall we go and up they are again wondering what you plan to do next.

And those enthusiasm levels are the same no matter what. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a walk you are proposing or a trip to the terrace, the energy levels and excitement is the same. Nothing is boring to these two, everything is an adventure packed with fun.

They have an amazing outlook to life, a way of living that leads to full life!

April 30, 2015   2 Comments

Young-at-Heart – The Child Within

Being young-at-heart is something I didn’t understand or appreciate when I was younger. Now as I get older I notice the inner child a lot more and enjoy it too.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve gotten more serious, more busy and less playful. Maybe it’s the responsibilities that have creeped in, or the traumas of day to day life.

But what ever the reasons may be, losing that child within – that smiles at silly things, thrills at simple joys and finds happiness and joy in everything, – is not to be allowed.

 

 

I still remember Cuckoo as a puppy her naughtiness and playfulness had us constantly wondering when she would grow up. But neither did we notice time pass nor how the playfulness receded over the years.

But when Elu came last August suddenly the quietness of our house became apparent. She brought everyone to life with her peppiness, her puppy playfulness and knack for making mischief.

The dogs who had become quite, sedentary and solitude seeking, suddenly sprang into play. Well, truthfully it wasn’t sudden, Elu had her work cut out as she nudged each dog into becoming a puppy again.

Elu went at each dog relentlessly, slowing working her way into their hearts and lives and over time she has gotten each one of them to become a little bit of a puppy again.

Maybe they don’t play as much as she does but in a day everyone of them plays a little, sometimes with her, sometimes with someone else, and sometimes with themselves.

But no matter what, everyday I get to see a little bit of puppyness in each of them, and I’m reminded that ‘You can’t help getting older, but you don’t have to get old.’

April 29, 2015   No Comments

Xenial – Hello Stranger!

It’s almost the end of the A to Z Challenge but now in the last few days it gets the most difficult, with X, Y and Z throwing up the big challenges.

Try finding words with X! That’s tough as it is, add to that the twist of the word being positive and meaningful and you leave yourself just a couple of words to choose from. So well, after a lot of searching and pondering, my choice for X is Xenial.

Xenial relates to hospitality or relations between a host and guest. It traces its roots to Greece where it defined customs between people of different cities. It means being hospitable to stangers and foreigners who are visiting and in it’s adjective form it could also mean giving gifts to strangers.

 

 

Cuckoo House. This is what most people who’ve ever been home call our house. If you’ve ever visited I’ll not have to explain. But for those who haven’t, after Cuckoo came home 7 years ago, the house was ours no more. Cuckoo is the dog you first meet at the gate, she is always at the gate, the face of our home.

She is a dog you never forget after you’ve met her. A strong personality she makes an impression for sure, it may be good or bad but a strong and lasting impression it is. She has always been somewhat an enigma, there are just to many times I haven’t been able to figure her out.

Why she takes to some people and not others is a mystery. The ones she takes too, go away to forever ask about her first when they call, or look forward to meeting her when they return. Those she doesn’t like (thank god, that’s a rarity), rarely return.

But she isn’t the most xenial of my dogs at all times, being the moody temperamental one that she is. The others balance her out with their love and care. Mainly the ones who are the xenial ones in my house are Buddha, Max and Elu in age order, in xeniality it’d be reverse.

Elu melts and wins over every heart. If we had a Miss Xeniality competition, she’d win it hands down. She knows just what it takes to please people, and can read people to know what would melt whose heart.

Both mongrels but both so different. Yet what they have in common is a knack of winning people over, of worming into their hearts, curling up there and staying for ever.

April 28, 2015   No Comments

Wisdom – What’s Wise All About

I’ve been unable to decided between ‘wholehearted’ and ‘wisdom’ all of today but now at the end of the day, wisdom it shall be for I haven’t told you much about Buddha until now and this is the word for him.

Buddha or #BuddhaTheWise as we call him, came into our lives about 4 years ago. A timid retiring little thing Buddha was hardly ever heard and sometimes not even seen. He spent his first Diwali with his head stuck between the wall and the beanbag and the crackers made a racket.

 

 

Buddha had always been a timid dog, we had been told. He did like confrontations and his way of avoiding that was to become the side-kick Tiger at a very young age. Tiger was the alpha of the pack and Windward Kennels and no one messed with Buddha as messing with him was messing with Tiger.

But that didn’t take away from Buddha in anyway for he won best in breed 7 times and was one of the stud dogs at Windward. Life was good for Buddha who preferred to sit and stare at birds and bees rather than chase them. That is until Tiger passed away.

Things changed then, he suddenly didn’t have his bodyguard anymore, he started getting noticed, pounced on and he began to retreat into himself. The Buddha we brought home was a timid dog who spent most of the day under chairs keeping out of everyones reach. We hoped a change of pack would give him a new life.

Four years later, looking back I know we couldn’t have been more right. Buddha has blossomed into a dog all his own. He scolds you for everything, charges out with the pack at strange sounds and strangers, and can be the cutest thing at times.

 

 

He isn’t the dog we brought home any more. Still timid around people, he stands up for himself just fine with dogs. Interestingly William, my Golden Retriever is most scared of Buddha who makes him toe the line with such ease.

Now that you know so much about Buddha, lets get to the topic of this post – wisdom. This is one thing I’ve seen in large quantities in Buddha. He knows when to fight and more importantly when to walk away. Most often, we rather walk away then have a fight. He spends hours in contemplation and I’d give so much to find out what he’s thinking.

Buddha is so wise, he even looks wise! 😀

April 27, 2015   No Comments

Movie Review: O Kadhal Kanmani or OK Kanmani

Release: April 17, 2015 (India)
Language: Tamil
Director: Mani Ratnam
Actors: Dulquer Salmaan, Nithya Menen, Leela Samson, Prakash Raj
Music composer: A. R. Rahman
Cinematography: P. C. Sreeram

After Mani Ratnam’s last movie Kadal which Che didn’t like and I didn’t land up watching, I was looking forward to this one. With O Kadhal Kanmani it would be decided which way Mani Ratnam’s career was going. Was he going to make a comeback into movie greats or fade away into the world of wannabes.

OK Kanmani is at the surface a simple love story. Boy meet girl in dramatic circumstances. He then next sees her at his best friends wedding and love blossoms, only it’s still in budding stage. A few dates follow and next thing you know they are living-in.

Yep, living-in is the new normal and we now talk about it openly in our movies. All is well until the boys brother and sister-in-law visit. Then girl gets told off for living in sin and boy is living in denial or the belief that his brother and S-I-L know nothing.

Girl turns out to be a heiress and her mother puts boy behind bars in Arthur Road Jail to see if he is good enough for her daughter. Suddenly in the midst of all this both girl and boys dreams materialise. Girl gets opportunity to study in Paris and boy gets job posting U.S.

They have to choose, either dreams or love. But there is also so called mid path. Boy tells girl he wants her to chase her dreams, to do all she wants, go where she wants, and all that spiel but only after she marries him.

So, they get married, go their separate ways, and then come back together and make babies. The perfect love story if you leave every iota of your intelligence at home. Hey, I’m not being insulting, I’m serious. I enjoyed the movie, but then again, I didn’t have high expectations, I wanted a random entertainer and most importantly I don’t speak Tamil. 😀

Me Likey:

(Those few things I liked.)

I enjoyed the music, and some songs like Kaara Aattakkaara and Mental Manadhil I’m still humming. I also enjoyed Malargal Kaettaen and Parandhu Sella Vaa was a very interesting mix of music.

Dulquer Salmaan was a sight for sore eyes. A cutie who constantly oozed sexiness. Nithya Menen was the female equivalent of that. The character that I liked the most though was Prakash Raj. With each movie of his I watch lately I’m falling in love with the man a little more.

Irky Things:

(That which irked me a lot.)

1. This funda of getting married before you can doing anything, especially anything fun. After the live-in scenes, I was starting to think that finally here was a movie that wouldn’t culminate in wedding bells. But no, no such thing happened. Instead they reinforced that societal requirement of signing a sheet of paper.

2. One of the supporting characters has Alzheimers and the movie was doing a good job of showing that it was about and the love and care an Alzheimers patient needs, until suddenly you realise that’s just a part of the story to allow the hero and heroine to have more time for cliched yucky dialoguebaazi where they exchange sappy dialogues.

3. There were others too but I’ll round off this list with sappy cliched dialogues. The ‘Will you take care of me when I’m old’ type dialogues have been done to death and should be put to death soon. Especially in a movie where initially the girl and boy come across are strong characters that do not believe in marriage.

Summary:

(The short and sweet of it.)

All said and done, the movie had it’s moments and I enjoyed it. There were a lot of scenes that made me smile and even laugh. I also so wanted to pinch Dulquer Salmaan’s cheeks and say ‘choo sweet’ many a time. 😀

Mani Ratham it seems has not lost his touch completely, but he definitely needs to find more of it before he can make Roja or Bombay again.

Did you watch it? What did you think of it?

April 26, 2015   No Comments

Vice – There Should Be At Least One

Yesterday, when I realised that today’s letter was ‘V’ I started to shortlist words. There weren’t too many to choose from and none seemed satisfactory. ‘Vice’ though kept cropping up.

There isn’t much to write about vice and to top that, it’s a word with negative connotations. I spent last night and most of today thinking how I would work it in. I even tried to look for other easier words but vice just didn’t go away.

Then I turned to Google for rescue. Here’s two meanings google lists –

– immoral or wicked behaviour.
– an immoral or wicked personal characteristic.

Now I’m not going into the immoral part but the wicked seemed right up my ally, or for that matter the dogs ally. 😀

My doggies are angels, yes, but they can surface the devil sometimes. And each one has their own unique little devil-dog with his trident.

Elu loves to chew on things and a lot of times, it things she shouldn’t be chewing. Like the dress she made holes in this morning.

Senti has a silly OCD of licking, he has his favourite spots in the courtyard and then he just licks and licks and licks the same spot.

Cuckoo is a cranky bitch. She loses it when there is another dog on the other side of the gate and in her frenzied state she takes out her excitement on any dog that’s stupid enough to be around her in the heat of the moment.

Max considers some of the weirdest things as food and the yuckiest thing I caught him eating is human feces. I know, yuck!

William chooses to sleep in the oddest of spots, and then gets upset when you jump over him to get to the kitchen. He’s like a walking obstacle course.

Then there’s Buddha, who is an all round wonderful dog, except that he will scold you for everything. Tell him to go out and he’ll bark at you. Call him for dinner and make him wait and you’ll get told off. Scold a dog and he’ll scold you, he’ll even scold the dogs when they argue.

All of these may not seem like negatives but that depends on how you look at it. To me vices don’t have to be negative, they just have to be wicked and weird. They add to the character the dog or person and help you appreciate the good things about them.

I’ve had a lot of vices over the years, some have stayed and a lot of changed or gone away. But some are always around. I can’t be all good, right? 😉

April 26, 2015   No Comments

Unique – As We All Are

 

I’m unique… just like everyone else.
– Unknown

 

The desire to be unique drove me for a large part of my life and it still does. Looking back a lot of things I did were rebellion but they also were fuelled by the need to stand out, to be different.

It took years of upstream swimming to realise that I didn’t need to struggle, I was unique naturally. I didn’t need to go with the flow, but I didn’t need to fight it either.

With 6 dogs in my pack I get to see a lot of variety, a range of personalities, each one so different from the other. From their barks, to snores, they are so different, I can usually tell one from the other even with out looking at them.

Each one of them has their own quirks, their very own favourites – from food to poop spots, individual temperaments, characteristic styles of walking and running,… the list goes on. I could tell each one apart in everything little thing about them.

 

 

Not one of them tries to be like the other. They are unique and they to be very happy and content with who they are.

That’s the moral for me here – to be comfortable in your own skin, don’t try to be someone else, be who ever you are, for you are unique!

April 24, 2015   No Comments

Tolerance – Understand and Accept

I used to be a judgemental person some years ago. Ready to assess and dismiss people easily, not giving them a chance most of the time.

Over the years though, this has changed, I’m less judgemental now, or so I think. I still land-up judging people even before I realise I am doing it but now I can stop myself when I realise it. I am a lot more tolerant now than before but I have a long way to go.

William as I was saying yesterday has been abused and this abusive history of his has made him less tolerant and a lot more cranky than most dogs. He doesn’t like being disturbed, his personal space is much larger than normal and he gets upset at any invasion of it.

There are constant instances of him mock charging and scolding the other dogs for walking past him or playing in his vicinity. He used to do this with me too earlier and my reaction to it was usually to retaliate and scold him.

The dogs on the other hand, stop in their tracks when he does this. They freeze, look away, take two breaths, and then continue on their way like nothing happened. It’s as if they understand him and his issues and are saying “It’s ok dude, chill out!”.

They seem to have a tolerance for each other built into their natures, it’s what keep them glued as a pack. They understand each other, each others quirks, irritants, likes, dislikes, and histories.

But I think it’s not just that they understand or tolerate each other but that they accept each other, without changes or modifications, they accept each other just as they are.

April 23, 2015   No Comments

When the Clocks Stopped by Marion Eaton: Mystical Mystery Bundle Giveaway

Discover a touch of the mystical and an innovative take on mystery from an international trio of authors. Australian Virginia King, American Amber Foxx and British Marion Eaton – all B.R.A.G. Medallion winners – have teamed up for a giveaway and over a week of discounts from April 21 – 30.

The Mystical Mystery Bundle is up for grabs at discounted prices from the 21st to 30th of April. But from the 21st to 26th of April you have a chance to win it for free. Scroll down for more details on how to participate in the giveaway.

Before I tell you more about When the Clocks Stopped, Marion Eaton and the giveaway, here’s a question I asked Marion about her book.

What inspired you to to have a time-slip in ‘When the Clocks Stopped’? Why did you choose Hazel Dawkin’s profession as a lawyer?

I’d like to answer the second question first … as a novice writer, I was advised to ‘write about what I know’. So I have to come clean and admit that ‘When the Clocks Stopped’ is based on an unforgettable, rosy time in my life — when I first set up in practice as a solicitor. My personal experiences were very different from Hazel’s, of course, but I liked the idea of an unusual protagonist for a legal thriller — a young pregnant lawyer who knows next to nothing about crime or litigation but solves a mystery with common sense combined with practical legal knowledge.

My own conversations with Annie inspired the time-slip, but then I have always been aware that history is not dead. It walks beside us through the streets of cities and across country fields. I have noticed that in many old buildings where dramatic things have happened, an impression is stamped on the atmosphere or is impregnated in the walls. Annie became as real to me as Hazel, although she lives in a different century. Their lives became so entangled that it seemed inevitable that they must meet. And I am convinced that it is possible for present day occurrences to affect events that have happened in the past as much as they shape the future. Besides, it was such fun to write!

 

Summary: When the Clocks Stopped

When lawyer Hazel Dawkins decides to write some wills while she waits for the birth of her first child, she unwittingly triggers dramatic consequences. Mysteriously, she encounters Annie, a woman whose tempestuous life took place more than two centuries earlier when Romney Marsh was a violent place, dominated by smugglers. Soon that past collides with the present, and Hazel finds herself pitted against an evil that has stalked the marsh for centuries. As her destiny intertwines with Annie’s in the shifting time-scape, Hazel confronts a terrifying challenge that parallels history – and could even change it. If she survives.

 

About the Author: Marion Eaton


 
Retired from legal practice, Marion Eaton lives near the sea in the beautiful Sussex countryside with a long-suffering husband, a lazy Saluki, a wild garden and an urge to write into the small hours –all of which she attempts to keep in some sort of order.

 

 

 

Giveaway: Win a Paperback of Each Book

Enter the drawing below to win a paperback copy of the first book in each author’s series.

You can also buy ‘When the Clocks Stopped’ (only US $1.99 during sale from 21st to 30th) – Amazon.in | Amazon.com

In the Rafflecopter widget below choose which series you would like to learn more about. This will enter you in the drawing. To get an additional entry, click on the option to tweet the give-away. The giveaway will run from April 21 (midnight US Eastern time) to April 26 (midnight US Eastern time). The winner will be announced on April 27, 2015.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Just in case the Rafflecopter widget isn’t showing, click here.

All the Best!!! :)

April 23, 2015   No Comments